Federal dam regulators are reevaluating how they conduct dam inspections in the wake of the Oroville Dam spillway crisis, and they’ve ordered the nation’s dam operators to thoroughly inspect their facilities to see “if they have a potential Oroville waiting to happen,” a federal dam inspector said Sunday.
“Can we make things different? Can we improve things?” said Frank Blackett, a regional engineer at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Division of Dam Safety and Inspections.
Speaking Sunday on a panel at an engineering conference at the Sacramento Convention Center, Blackett listed the array of state and federal inspectors who visited Oroville Dam over the years. All of them, he said, missed signs that could have foreshadowed the gaping crater forming in the dam’s concrete spillway in early February, eventually leading to the frantic mass evacuations of 188,000 people downstream of the dam.
“One thing we (the inspectors) all have in common is that we didn’t predict this happening,” Blackett said.
Source: The Sacramento Bee